What kind of calculator can you bring to the ACT?

ACT Prep

What kind of Calculator resized 600If you're taking the ACT this Saturday, make sure you know exactly what kind of calculator you can bring. Not all of them are accepted!

According to ACT (the makers and administrators of the ACT), here's the deal with calculators:

“WARNING: You are responsible for knowing if your calculator is permitted. If testing staff find that you are using a prohibited calculator or are using a calculator on any test other than the Mathematics Test, you will be dismissed and your answer document will not be scored. If ACT determines later that you used a prohibited calculator or that you used a calculator on a test other than the Mathematics Test, your scores will be cancelled.”

So what's an "acceptable calculator"? 

  • Graphing calculators, unless it has prohibited features listed below
  • Scientific calculators, unless it has prohibited features listed below
  • Four-function calculators

Some calculators are permitted with modification to the calculator itself:

  • Calculators with paper tape must have the tape removed.
  • Calculators that make noise must have the sound turned off.
  • Calculators with an infrared port, such as HP 38G, 39G, and 48G series, must have the port covered with duct tape or electrician’s tape.
  • Calculators with power cords must have the cords removed.

What kind of calculators aren't allowed?

  • Laptop, tablet, or a portable/handheld computer
  • Calculator that has QWERTY (keyboard-like) keypad
  • Electronic writing pad or pen-input/stylus-driven device (Note: The Sharp EL 9600 IS permitted)
  • Cell phone calculator
  • Calculators with built-in computer algebra systems, including the following:
    • All Texas Instrucments beginning with TI-89, TI-92, and TI-Nspire CAS (the TI-Nspire, non-CAS, IS permitted).
    • All Hewlett Packard models beginning with HP 48GII, HP 40G, HP 49G, and HP 50G.
    • All Casios beginning with CFX-9970G, Algebra fx 2.0, ClassPad300, and ClassPad 330.

Please note that the TI-89 is NOT permitted. Use of this calculator is the most common reason students are dismissed during the test!

Although all of the math problems on the ACT can be solved without a calculator (really, they can!), we still recommend that you bring one, just in case. Even the biggest math whiz kids need some help sometimes, and the speed and accuracy of a calculator can help you when you're running out of time.